Housing for the Mentally Ill Research Paper

Pages: 20 (5997 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Housing for the Mentally Ill: Psychological Effect and Sociological Factors That Determine How Mentally Ill People Are Incorporated Into Society

A primarily problem for many individuals who are mentally ill is coping with every day problems that are not directly related to their mental illness and one of these is the securing and maintenance of a residence. Facilities that are local to Tennessee residents attempt to secure patients with Housing however obstacles including budget cuts, the rising costs of living and opposition from insurance companies are ever present.

This work intends to examine this phenomenon, expose redundancies and waste, and propose some ideas for solutions. This issue was specifically chosen since it involves both the areas of Psychology and Sociology as the writer of this work is giving consideration to entering this field of research therefore this study will result in a gain in the writers' insight regarding the day-to-day reality of social work and the needs of mentally ill patients who require assistance.

Many aspects of providing Psychological treatment are realized through social involvement. Mental health providers help relieve some pressure by integrating patients into group homes, teaching them to interact accordingly, and building essential skill sets to meet the norms of our society. Social environments have a great impact on Psychological well-being.

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Although less than five percent of the total population suffers from severe mental illness, twenty to forty percent of the homeless population is known to have a severe mental illness. (California Psychology Association, 2010) In addition, mentally ill individuals who are homeless are many times arrested for some type of nuisance crime "…yet those who receive comprehensive community Mental health treatment stay in such treatment, remain safely housed, and have an incarceration or homeless rate of less than 2%." (California Psychology Association, 2010 )

Research Paper on Housing for the Mentally Ill Assignment

It is reported by Steinberg (1999) that AB34 in the state of California funds community mental health programs that provide voluntary outreach, access to medicines and a variety of support services for the homeless who suffer from mental illness. An initial investment of $10 million produced millions in savings by reducing hospitalization and incarceration. Because of AB 34's success, the program was expanded in 2000 to 34 cities and counties, helping 4,720 homeless mentally ill individuals. As a result, state and local governments are seeing a $23 million savings through an 81% reduction in jail days, a 66% reduction in hospital days and an 80% reduction in homelessness." (California Psychology Association, 2010)

In a recent National Coalition of the Homeless Fact Sheet, specifically 3% published in June 2008, it is reported that findings in a survey conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors show that 7,.9% of the homeless population are individuals that a total of 29.9%. It is additionally stated that despite the large population of homeless individuals, "the growth in homeless individuals is not related to the release of seriously mentally ill people from institutions…" although the "mass deinstitutionalization form mental health facilities occurred over forty yeas ago, yet the promise of community-based programs and outpatient services has not been kept especially toward the homeless and others living in poverty." (NCH Fact Sheet, 2008, paraphrased) It is held that the new wave of deinstitutionalization due to managed care driven rate of unplanned discharge might very well be contributing to the population of individuals who are homeless at the present. (NCH Fact Sheet, 2008, paraphrased)

Mental disorders are such that prevention individuals from the carrying out of "essential aspects of daily life, such as self-care, household management and interpersonal relationships." (NCH Fact Sheet, 2008) Those who are mentally ill and homeless are likely to be homeless for long periods of time and to have less familial contact as well as less contact with friends. Disorders such as schizophrenia are stated to "often misinterpret the guidance of others and react irrationally because of their condition. The mentally ill homeless population is further stated to encounter "more barriers to employment tend to be in poorer physical health, and have more contact with the legal system than homeless people who do not suffer from mental disorder. (NCH Fact Sheet, 2008, paraphrased)

The work of Breakey, et al. (1989) focused on homeless people in Baltimore, Maryland and specifically on their health characteristics. The first stage of the study involved "…298 men and 230 women were randomly selected from the missions, shelters, and jail in Baltimore to respond to a baseline interview that provided extensive sociodemographic and health-related data." The second stage involved a subsample of 203 subjects which were randomly chosen from the baseline survey respondents to have "systematic psychiatric and physical examinations.. Data are presented from both stages. Data from the first stage demonstrate, among other things, the high levels of disaffiliation of this population and their heavy involvement in substance abuse. Data from the clinical examinations demonstrate the high prevalence of mental illnesses and other psychiatric disorders and of a wide range of physical disorders and confirm the high prevalence of alcohol abuse disorders. The high rates of comorbidity of these conditions are demonstrated and data are provided on the subjects' needs for mental health and substance abuse services." (Breakey, et al., 1989)

McNiel, Binder and Robinson (2005) report a study that assessed the relationships between homelessness mental disorder and incarceration." Using archival databases that included all 12,934 individuals who entered the San Francisco County Jail system during the first six months of 2000, the authors assessed clinical and behavioral characteristics associated with homelessness and incarceration." The study results report that sixteen percent of the incarcerations were of inmates who were homeless and in eighteen percent of cases the inmates were stated to have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and thirty percent of the inmates who were homeless had a diagnosis of mental disorder during one or more episodes." (McNiel, Binder and Robinson. 2005) The study concludes by stating that individuals who were homeless "and who were identified as having Mental disorders, although representing only a small proportion of the total population, accounted for a substantial proportion of persons who were incarcerated in the criminal justice system in this study's urban setting. The increased duration of incarceration associated with homelessness and co-occurring severe mental disorders and substance-related disorders suggests that jails are de facto assuming responsibility for a population whose needs span multiple service delivery systems." (McNiel, Binder and Robinson, 2005)

The work of Combaluzier, Gouvernet, and Bernoussi (2009) reports a study that states findings that the association of homelessness multiples the risk for development of personality disorders and it was also found that many homeless personality-disordered individuals were also affected by drug abuse.

The work of Gilmer, et al. (2010) entitled: "Effect of full-service partnerships on homelessness, use and costs of mental health services, and quality of life among adults with serious mental illness" Reports that adults who are chronically homeless with severe mental illness are heavy users of costly inpatient and emergency psychiatric services."


Individuals with mental illness often have a great problem in gaining access to housing and require assistance in obtaining and maintaining a place of residence.


The purpose of the study herein is to examine the issue of mental illness as it relates to homelessness among those with psychological disorders and the challenges they face in obtaining housing.


The significance of this study is the knowledge that it will add to the already existing base of knowledge in this area of research and study.


The work of Finnerty (2008) states that homelessness is a problem that affects most societies today. It does not discriminate by geographical location; it can occur in any city of town, in any country in the world. Homelessness is defined as being without a place to live, and therefore living on the streets; living in unstable conditions, such as a shelter, or substandard conditions such as boarding houses." (Finnerty, 2008) Various problems impact homeless individuals and there is a great deal of uncertainty about how individuals without housing should be handled. Exacerbating this problem is that many homeless individuals are affected by mental illness and in fact a report of the National Coalition for the Homeless (2006) states that approximately 20 to 25% of homeless adults are known to suffer from some type of severe mental illness. This results in these individuals comprising the majority of the population of homeless and very vulnerable individuals.

Mental disorders affect the individual in a manner that prevents them from taking care of essential aspects of everyday life. Individuals who have mental disorders "are homeless for a longer period of time and have more problems involving employment, physical health and the legal system compared to homeless people who do not have a mental illness." (Finnerty, 2008) The study of mental illness in those who are homeless is important "because the outcome could affect how to treat this population and what kind of support or aid they should be given." (Finnerty,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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